garden bird nettingA beautiful, well-maintained garden has become a source of pride and joy for many homeowners. It takes work to till, plant and weed a garden of any size. To nurture a garden with feed and care are labors well spent, for the results are indeed wonderful to behold—flowers, fruits and vegetables you can proudly share with family and friends.

The Birds Are Coming

But bird season is right around the corner, which means birds will be looking for areas to roost and nest, specifically gardens like yours that have easy and ready access to fruits, berries and vegetables they can feed on. Unless your garden is protected by effective bird control measures, pest birds will nibble and eat your plants and fruit trees. They also won’t be shy about depositing loads of droppings all over your fruits and vegetables. This waste is not only unsightly but can carry any number of infectious diseases—up to 60 in fact. What more, the acids in bird droppings can eat into wood, plastic, metal and even stone, so your garden furniture and ornamental features will be defaced or even damaged. Bird droppings can cause unsightly stains on fencing, gazebos, patio structures and awnings.

Lethal Means of Bird Control Are Often Illegal

Many homeowners, frustrated over pest birds ruining their garden are often tempted to resort to lethal bird control measures. Poisons (avicides) should not be used, since they can be ingested by pets and pose additional hazards to adults and children. These lethal substances are also tightly controlled by the government, and many species of birds are protected, so their use is highly restricted. The use of firearms, even pellet guns, should also be avoided, since they pose harm and possible injury to neighbors, pets and property. Trapping birds is one option, but this method won't stop other birds from invading your garden. If your garden is attractive for roosting and nesting, they'll just keep coming.

Some Initial Deterrent Strategies

There are some basic steps you should take to deter pest birds from your property. For one, remove easy access to food and water—including pools of standing water after rains or sprinkler use. Convince your family (especially kids and grandma/grandpa) to stop feeding any birds. These early scout birds will bring flocks to your garden. Keep trash containers tightly closed, and clean any food scraps around tables, benches and chairs. Finally, deny birds access to nesting and roosting sites around your property by sealing all openings to eaves, lofts, steeples and vents.

Some Proven (and Humane) Bird Control Measures

To prepare your garden for the annual arrival of pest birds, you'll need to make your garden as unappealing and intimidating to pest birds as possible. Fortunately, there are some very effective and humane bird control solutions currently available to save your garden. Here are four you might want to consider:

Garden Bird Netting. Highly effective in physically blocking out pest birds from plants and small trees, this netting comes in 14 x 100-foot rolls and three different mesh sizes. It’s light and easy to cut and install. 

Flash Tape. This creates a Visual Distraction Zone that deters pest birds. It comes in 50-foot rolls and is made of iridescent foil that’s easily cut into short strips. Affixed to high visibility areas of your garden, the strips snap in the wind and reflect sunlight to make birds too nervous to stay.

Bird Diverters. Known as Window Diverters or Bird Savers, these devices keep birds away from windows and sliding glass patio doors.

Easy to install and simple to remove using suction cups, the slightest breeze will cause these devices to move, convincing any approaching bird that a predator is guarding the window.

Hawk Decoys. These realistic-looking decoys stand about 17 inches tall to convince pest birds that a real hawk is standing by ready to strike. Made of heavy duty plastic to ensure its “live” appearance, the decoys can be placed in any high visibility area of your garden. Simply move the decoy from time to time to keep pest birds “on their toes.”